Finally: Utica-Rome Opens with Sunday Practice, Set for Thunder on the Thruway May 14

VERNON, NY – Finally.

After four rainouts, including three practices and the Grand Reopening, racecars finally returned to the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday.

An impromptu practice was scheduled for Mother’s Day (Sunday), after racing was rained out last Friday. The shakedown gave an opportunity for both the new management team and competitors to get up to speed in advance of this Friday night’s (May 14) Season Opener.

Johnstown, N.Y., native Rocky Warner was the fastest Sunoco Modified at practice, turning a lap of 20.169 on a wide and smooth half-mile oval Warner plans to make Utica-Rome his Friday night home track aboard the Jason Simmons-owned No. 98.

Oneida, N.Y. resident Matt Janczuk was consistently the fastest car in each session for the Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman. A 21.022 was Janczuk’s fastest time, coming in the fourth of five sessions for the Sportsman.

Thirty-four cars spanned across seven divisions including the Modifieds, Crate 602 Sportsman, Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks, Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman, Cool Stuff Antiques Four Cylinders, D&S Landscaping Junior Slingshots and the Senior Services Inc. Slingshots.

On the heels of the successful test and tune, the Route 5 facility has its second shot at a Grand Reopening this Friday. The Fuccillo Autoplex of Nelliston Thunder on the Thruway Series brings Utica-Rome Speedway back to life in thrilling fashion.

The Sunoco Modifieds will headline the event with a $4,000-to-win, 35-lap feature with $300 reserved to take the green flag.

Also on the card are the Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman ($1,500 to win), Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks ($1,000 to win), plus the Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman and the Cool Stuff Antiques Four Cylinders.

For the May 14 event, gates open at 5 p.m. Hot laps begin at 6:45 p.m. and racing gets underway at 7:30 p.m.

Grandstand admission is $15 for Adults, $12 for Seniors (ages 65 and up). Kids 11 and under are FREE.

Pit admission is $30 (Utica-Rome Speedway members) and $35 (non-members).

The event will be broadcast live on Dirt Track Digest TV (

A rain date of Sunday, May 16 will be in place for the May 14 program.

Utica-Rome Speedway is located at 5591 NY-5 (Seneca Turnpike) Vernon, NY 13476. The official website is Like Utica-Rome Speedway on Facebook or @UR_Speedway.